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March 2018

April 2018

Church Security Committee

Security Committee

Help us make Holy Cross Church a safer place to worship. Consider joining our newly forming Church Security Committee which will develop plans and supervise preparedness for emergencies of various types. Individuals with backgrounds in law enforcement, risk management, security, health care and first responders will make particularly valued contributions to our faith community.

The Committee will work closely with local and state law enforcement and emergency preparedness teams to ensure that Holy Cross Church has clear communication policies and sensible protocols for emergencies.

Our staff is completing various self-assessment questionnaires about our facilities as a first step to begin planning and purchasing any supplies we may lack.

If you are able to help us, especially if you worship at Holy Cross, please call the Parish Office and express you willingness to serve on this important committee.

 

 

 


Bread is the Staff of Life

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My father used to say this all the time, but he didn't have the spongy, tasteless Wonderbread in mind. I wasn't really sure how exactly food was a staff, but we had bread available for most dinners, especially when company visited. The discovery of harvesting grain, removing the chaff, grinding the flour and baking the dough for nourishment gave us one of the most important foodstuffs for the human family. The bad nutritional rap modern, chemically adulterated, bleached and fiber-free bread has given this staple food should not be what we think about when we hear Jesus reassure us that He is the Bread of Life. 

Jesus' Body and Blood in the Eucharist is the basic food for human spiritual thriving and He has promised us that whoever eats this Bread will live forever. 

 


Saint Stephen and Saint Paul

In this morning's reading from Acts chapters 7 and 8, we have the ironic and hard to comprehend scene of St. Stephen being stoned to death while Saul (St. Paul) supervises. Most artistic representations of the scene avoid clearly depicting Saul at the martrydom, but this icon from The Holy Order of St. Stephen does not shirk from depicting it.

With this jarring scene bouncing around in our heads, it is well to remember that God's plan for the Church is sometimes unclear to us, but always leads to salvation. We can also take solace in the forgiveness extended to us for any wrongdoing, even a notorious one.

I'm not aware of any churches named jointly for Sts. Stephen and Paul, but it would be a spiritually challenging idea.

https://en.holyorderofststephen.org/


Peace I Give You

PeaceJesus Christ is the source of true peace and his post-resurrection appearance to his apostles is a great reminder of that. Once the disciples had even the smallest belief in the Risen Jesus' identity through his reassuring presence, his wounds and his sharing a meal with them, peace and the joy founded in peace could flow.

It is good practice to reaffirm our belief when we ask Jesus for peace. We should ask not only for the peace we seek, but for the grace for our belief  in Jesus' saving identity to grow stronger.

 


We Must Obey God Rather Than Men

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Peer pressure isn't intrinsically bad, it can influence people to be good citizens, or to keep up their properties and build up neighborhood pride. Often, however, it seems to produce conformity around less than important issues, like dress codes or musical taste, and sometimes encourages anti-social behaviors like cruelty, drug use or sexual promiscuity. 

The best moral compass comes from internalized values and from conscience, the kind the early disciples preached about when they began telling the world about Jesus' resurrection. When warned by temple officials they had been warned not to preach about Jesus of Nazareth, the disciples replied, "We must obey God rather than men."

Such courage can be ours with prayer.


Solemnity of the Annunciation

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It's always interesting when the liturgical cycle and the temporal cycle collide and give us pause to reflect on Salvation History, God's plan for the world. Though we celebrate the timeless truth of the Logos, we also avow that Jesus became the Christ in time. The Annunciation to the Virgin Mary that she was to be the Mother of God and her acceptance of the role, her "fiat," is placed nine months before the liturgically celebrated date of Jesus' birth on December 25th. Yet, since the date of Easter is not fixed and varies according to the lunar/solar calendar, this year the feast is celebrated at the conclusion of the Octave of Easter.

Confusing perhaps, but a reminder that we all have one foot in time and one in eternity thanks to the Paschal Mystery of Christ in which we participate by our baptisms.

Alleluia!


Divine Mercy Sunday

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Wonderfully today we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday

Wonderful because the church wants us to consider the first fruits of Christ’s Resurrection Victory over sin and death to be mercy, not retribution or punishment

The powers of this world don’t usually offer mercy as the first order of business after an unequivocal victory. It’s payback. World history is scarred with the retaliatory behavior of victors toward the defeated: Emperors and empresses,kings and queens, presidents, prime ministers, generals and their armies, dictators, newly hired CEO’s, team owners, winners in civil lawsuits. The first impulse of the rulers of this world is not generally mercy, even though all their victories are only temporary and partial.

Jesus victory over death is permanent and a victory in which we share by our baptisms and by striving to follow Him. That’s the great joy of Easter and the reason Divine Mercy follows on Divine Victory.

Let’s not be Mercy hogs - pleading for and receiving God's mercy, but offering little of it to others. The insight that God is the source of all mercy, even the mercy we extend to each other, can help us hand the mercy on instead of holding it tightly.

God's mercy is more like swimming in an ocean or bathing in rays of sunlight, than going to the market for a transaction. There is a universe full of mercy. No need to hoard it, or hold it too tightly.


A Posse of Turkeys Save A Parking Space and Visit Staten Island Hospital Radiology Pavilion

 

Visit

While two of them save a parking space, the rest head off to their clinic appointments.

I visited Staten Island yesterday for the funeral of an old friend and colleague and since I had arrived quite early, decided to drive by Staten Island University Hospital and see what new construction was underway. I was astonished to meet this posse of wild turkeys weaving in and out of the traffic into the parking lot and couldn't resist a picture or two. For those who have no real image of Staten Island, it's quite urbanized and not like "the countryside" of the fifties!